The best Civilization 6 mods

Mute the colors, add a production queue, and play a game on the earth.

We still haven’t heard back from Firaxis about when we can expect Civilization 6 modding tools, but we know they’re coming and should include some improvements over Civ 5’s set. In the meantime, modders have already gotten to work on Civ 6 with what they have. So if you’ve already played a few vanilla games and want to mix it up a little (and even though we love what Firaxis built, we think there are many improvements to be made) you can start right now with our list of the best mods so far. We’ll update this page as more mods are released—the latest additions were made November 15th.

On top of that, you can do some tinkering of your own as Civilization 6’s XML files and Lua scripts sit uncompressed in the game directory—we’ve already assembled some tweaks and written about a simple way to modify Civ 6’s starting conditions here. 

Installing Civilization 6 mods

Civ 6 doesn’t have Steam Workshop support yet, but most mods can easily be installed by creating a folder called ‘Mods’ in your Civilization 6 user directory: \Documents\My Games\Sid Meier's Civilization VI. 

Extract mods to your new Mods folder (with each mod in its own subfolder) and then enable them from the ‘Additional Content’ menu in-game. Some mods may have extra steps, which I’ll describe in their individual entries.

If you want to make changes to Civ 6’s files yourself, the simplest way is to make direct changes to the files in Civilization 6’s install directory (after backing up the originals, of course). First, find Civ 6’s install folder. You can do this by right-clicking on the game in your Steam library, and selecting Properties > Local Files > Browse Local Files. The default install location is Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\common\Sid Meier’s Civilization 6. Identify the file you want to mess with, save a copy, and go for it—just don’t forget what you’ve changed.

For help with the more elegant and shareable approach—a mod which can be installed in the Mods folder and toggled in the menu—check out Locke’s Russia Modding Example and Gedemon’s breakdown of the .modinfo file structure.

Yet Not Another Map Pack

Yet Not Another Map Pack is another map pack from well-known modder and bundler Gedemon. YNAMP for Civilization 6 is in early alpha, but it works and includes Earth-shaped maps with the correct start locations for each culture. If you’re tired of playing a landlocked Norway, this is your chance to create a proper Viking empire. The pack also adds new, bigger map sizes (one of which is so big it might take five or so minutes to load).

You can download YNAMP from Github. To install it, extract the folder to \Documents\My Games\Sid Meier's Civilization VI\Mods and then enable it in the ‘Additional Content’ menu. When starting a game, you’ll have new map types and size options available. Head to the post on Civfanatics for more information on how to use YNAMP, as well as known bugs and issues.

Production Queue

Lozenged, thank you. I don't know why Civ 6 didn't have a production queue at launch, but I'm glad the problem is solved. This mod adds an attractive queue on the upper-left side of the production menu. Anything you click will be added to it, and the production order can be rearranged by dragging and dropping. Grab Production Queue here, unzip it into your mods folder, and select it under Additional Content as usual.

Improved Water Yields

I love building seaside cities, and whole civilizations on little islands, and so Improved Water Yields is one of my favorite simple tweaks. It leaves the base yield for water tiles alone, but adds significant bonuses, like +1 food to every water tile when you build a harbor and +1 food to sea resources when you build a lighthouse. It makes cities on tiny islands and canal cities—my two favorite kinds of city—much more viable.

Moar Units

Moar Units does just what author Deliverator’s title promises, adding 12 unique civilization-specific units. The art is reused but customized by editing the Units.artdef file (that’s as far as my understanding goes as I haven’t dug into Civ 6’s art structure myself yet), each with their own special stats. The unit icons may be off, and Moar Units isn’t necessarily balanced, but it does make each civ a little more unique. 

Download Moar Units here. To install it, copy the MOAR_Units folder to your Mods directory, and the MOAR_Units_Asstes folder to the Civilization 6 install directory.

Smoother Difficulty

Harder difficulties give AI civilizations extra units at the start to tilt the game in their direction—but while that does make Civ 6 harder, it can lead to early game stompings that aren’t much fun. If you’d rather the AI players not send an army to your door in the Ancient Era, but still get bonuses to Production, Gold, Science, and Culture so they can keep up with you, Smoother Difficulty makes that happen. Install it, as usual, by extracting it to a folder in your Mods directory.

PhotoKinetik (Westeros)

This is a ReShade preset that mutes Civ 6’s colors for a more Civ 5 look and adds heavy depth of field (which is togglable) for a tilt-shift effect. The DOF is pretty intense, so I disable it with NumPad 0, but I prefer the faded map look to Civ 6’s vibrant default.

Download PhotoKinetik (Westeros) here and follow the installation instructions provided in the overview. It took me a few tries to install it without making Civ 6 crash, so if you have trouble, here’s what my process looked like:

1. Extract either the 1080p or 4K version from the zip file.
2. Run ReShade Assistant.exe
3. Hit the + button at the top, above ‘Default.’
4. Navigate to and select the Civ 6 executable. You’ll find it in your Steam folder, in \steamapps\common\Sid Meier's Civilization VI\Base\Binaries\Win64Steam.
5. Select ‘d3d11’ and hit ‘Confirm’ at the bottom.
6. You should now have a profile called Sid_Meier’s_Civilization_VI selected.
7. Go to the Presets tab and confirm that CIVVIPK is selected. Save it.
8. Run Civilization 6 as you normally would. If it crashes, go back into ReShade Assistant, select Sid_Meier’s_Civilization_VI, and hit the - button to undo the change.
9. If it works, you’ll probably want to hit NumPad 0 to disable depth of field. It’s way too much for me.
 

Better Trade Screen

The 'Repeat Route' checkbox alone makes Better Trade Screen worth it, but it brings lots of improvements, such as new sorting options to the Trade Overview screen. It's one of those quality of life improvement UI mods we'll keep checked forever.

Quick UI

This is a work-in-progress UI mod that puts more information in front of you with fewer clicks—for instance, by showing your cities’ housing on the map screen. You can find a list of existing and planned features here and download it from GitHub.

Installation is a little different for Quick UI: Rather than extracting it to your Mods folder, you’ll want to download the zip and extract the Quick UI folder to the DLC folder, which you’ll find in the Civilization 6 install directory. Because it works a bit differently, it will be automatically enabled for any new game you start after installing it. Unfortunately, it won’t be enabled in saved games created before it was installed.

Adjust starting units, techs, and more

Unfortunately, starting with this many units and no treasury to support them doesn't quite work out.

While I was messing with Civ 6 to try to play a game without ever founding a city, I found that all the player and AI starting conditions are stored in a file called Eras.xml. You’ll find it in the Civ 6 install directory, under \Base\Assets\Gameplay\Data. 

Using what’s there as an example, it’s not hard to copy and paste to add starting units, or limit the AI’s unit bonuses on harder difficulties. Just make sure you backup Eras.xml before you start tinkering in case you want to revert to the defaults.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

As Executive Editor, Tyler spends a lot of time editing reviews and looking at spreadsheets, and whatever time is left over writing reviews. People joke that he doesn't like 90 percent of the games he plays, but he'll tell you he just has very discerning tastes.
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